It’s Jane Austen but not necessarily as you know it.

Northanger Abbey comes to Bolton’s Octagon Theatre tonight following a six week run in London but as one of the stars A K Golding points out, you don’t have to be an Austen fan to enjoy it.

“Actually, if If you are coming thinking you are going to see true representation of a Jane Austen novel you could be a little disappointed,” she laughed. “But I think it’s really interesting to have a new adaptation which is so fresh.”

Bury Times: Northanger Abbey (Picture: Pamela Raith)

Adapted by Zoe Cooper, the production puts a different slant on to a classic tale told by just three actors.

A K plays Iz - Isabella Thorpe in the novel - who befriends the book’s heroine Catherine Morland when she arrives in Bath to experience life in High Society.

“In novel they are best friends and make an agreement to marry each others brothers then it all falls apart,” said A K. “That’s still true in this version but for different reasons.

“She’s fun to play as she’s knowing, funny and vivacious and quite teasing which is really nice. She’s a proper lady and I’m not that, so it’s enjoyable to play somebody posh.”

The production raises questions about sexuality and female empowerment - topics which Jane Austen was ahead of her time in writing about. But critics and audiences alike have been won over by just how funny this version is too.

“It is very silly in parts,” said A K. “It’s so gorgeous to be in a show where people feel they can just laugh and enjoy it. It is a production for everyone, and even if you’re not an Austenite you can enjoy it and learn a lot along the way which to me is what theatre should be about.

“As well as being silly, the characters have to face up to things; there is a really story there. It makes it more poignant because you can be laughing along and suddenly realise they are going through things.”

With just a cast of three, the production puts great demands on the actors.

Bury Times: Sam Newton, Rebecca Banatvala and A K Golding in Northanger Abbey (top right) A K Golding as Iz and (below) Cath and Iz                                                                                      (Pictures: Pamela Raith)

“I think in the first 40 minutes of the show I play 11 characters,” said AK. “Becky (Rebecca Banatvala who plays Cath) basically sticks to her one character but me and Sam (Sam Newton who plays Henry) create this whole world around Cath. Sam takes all the female roles and I take all the male roles which is super silly and great fun but it is hard work.”

To introduce so many characters requires some quick costume changes.

“I’m wearing this massive Regency dress so I can’t easily take it off so we usually use coats and hats to denote a different character.

“Navigating my way round all these other character while in a Regency dress has certainly been a challenge that’s for sure.”

A K is looking forward to coming to the Octagon - the show will also visit Scarborough and Keswick.

“I was in Bolton last year just for one performance of a different show in the Studio,” she said.

“This time we get to be in the main theatre which is so exciting. It is such an intimate space which I think will be great for this production.

Bury Times: Northanger Abbey (Picture: Pamela Raith)

“You really can see the whites of the audiences’ eye and we will be taking them on this massive journey from the North to Bath and then to London. It will be very immersive and well suited to the space.”

As Northanger Abbey goes ‘on tour’, AK admitted that it will be the longest job she’s ever had as an actor.

“I’ve been acting for four or five years and I’ve never been in one show for such a period of time,” she said. “To be in different places doing the same production is unheard of for me and I’m so excited about it.

“I think taking the show on tour keeps it fresh and alive and it will be interesting to see how different audiences react to it.”

It would be interesting to know what Jane Austen herself made of this new interpretation of her work.

“The novel was only published after her death,” said AK. “She wrote it in little snippets for her family - it was really a satirical joke based on the novels of the time. Jane Austen was really spiky and said some fairly daring things for a woman from her time so I hope she’d approve of what Zoe Cooper has done with her adaptation which presents the story to a modern audience covering topics which we are more used to discussing today like class and sexuality.

“She was great at observing people and hopefully she looking down and enjoying the production.”

Northanger Abbey opens tonight at Bolton’s Octagon Theatre and runs until Saturday, March 23. Details from